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Tuesday, June 16, 1998 Published at 03:49 GMT 04:49 UK

Sport: Football

Marseille sweeps up

Pitched battles took place in three areas of the city

The French port of Marseille is attempting to return to normal after two days of pitched battles between English and Tunisian soccer hooligans.

Paul Newman reports on a weekend of violence
In scenes which damaged the reputation of the sport, the World Cup and the individual countries, the England-Tunisia match became overshadowed on Monday as violence spread across the city.

And as the first English hooligans start jail sentences for their part in the violence, the Tunisian government issued a statement blaming the English fans.

Authorities clamp down

After witnessing the violence on Sunday evening, French authorities ordered a ban on sales of alcohol in cans and bottles in Marseille and ordered bars to shut at 2300 local time.

[ image: Tunisians clashed with English fans throughout Monday]
Tunisians clashed with English fans throughout Monday
That ban appeared to have succeeded in preventing a repeat of the violence seen throughout the previous two days.

Marseille police said they had arrested the ringleaders of the violence.

They had also put more police on the quiet streets during Monday evening, leading them to believe that some English hooligans had already left the city.

The government has also threatened to immediately deport any more hooligans without trial if there is more violence.

Tunisians blame English

Adam Mynott in Marseille: A minority are to blame
The Tunisian government has reacted strongly to the violence, blaming the English supporters for the scenes in Marseille.

The foreign ministry statement also accused the French authorities of failing to protect the Tunisians, including those who are Marseille residents.

[ image: England fans: Blamed by Tunisia]
England fans: Blamed by Tunisia
The statement said: "Tunisia expresses its profound indignation at these unacceptable acts and behaviour which are incompatible with sportsmanship and civilised values.

"Tunisia hopes all the parties concerned, especially the international sports bodies, will endeavour to prevent a recurrence of these disgraceful incidents."

Police prepare across France

Police in Toulouse have reacted quickly to the scenes in Marseille saying they are preparing for the arrival of England fans ahead of the game against Romania in a week's time.

A spokesman for the city's police force said: "We have learnt a lot from the conflicts we have seen in Marseille.

"We will be strengthening the police force here to keep the fans in order."

British police are continuing to work with the French to identify and track ringleaders.

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